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UK forces quell Basra disturbances

Basra, Aug. 9 (Reuters): British troops in riot gear deployed in Basra today to quell spreading disturbances sparked by shortages of fuel and power in Iraq’s second city.

In one instance, witnesses said soldiers fired in the air to keep back a crowd at a petrol station. Another witness said the British fired baton rounds at a crowd, wounding two Iraqis. A British military spokesman said several soldiers received minor injuries from stones and a military vehicle was set alight. He had no information on Iraqi injuries or casualties. “We put crowd control measures in place at petrol stations to try to restore law and order,” spokesman Jonathan Spencer said.

It was the second major unrest against British troops in the past three months. In June, six British soldiers were killed in the Shia town of Majjar by armed Iraqis protesting against searches.

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